Ideal Weather Led to Strong Performers at Young’s Plant Farm 2023 Trials

Note: Information for this report comes from Penny Merritt-Price, Product Development Manager at Young’s Plant Farm (learn more here).

This year felt like a fairly typical year weather wise. The spring did stay cool longer this year, which really helps with plant longevity. We plant in mid-April, and by mid May the nights are already warm. By the beginning of June this year, we got rain pretty regularly. We always get downpours in the southeast, the issue is downpour after downpour when the weather gets really hot and you get heat and humidity behind the rain. We didn’t really have that this year, just typical rain, not too wet or dry, just a normal amount.

We trialed more than 500 individual varieties and more than 200 combinations this year. 500 sounds like a lot, but once you put in new varieties, there’s not a lot of space left. One thing we do every year is test new varieties versus the ones we know are good, like three series of new lantanas. We will put in one or two good ones just to compare. For combos we want to trial all the new ones. Every year we come up with our own combos. We try to do our own introduction, so we want to trial those in the garden setting.

The top performers this years were:

  • Coleus Talavera Series (Pink Tricolor, Moondust Burgundy Lime, and Sienna) (Syngenta Flowers)
  • Caladium ‘Heart to Heart Tickle Me Pink’ (Proven Winners)
  • Salvia ‘Plum Crazy’ (Ball FloraPlant)
  • Impatiens ‘Compact Sunpatiens Red Candy’ (Sakata Ornamentals)
  • Petunia ‘Supertunia Mini Vista Sangria’ (Proven Winners)
  • Lantana ‘Gem Diva Pink’ (Danziger)
  • Geranium ‘Mantra Pink’ (Syngenta Flowers)
  • Begonia ‘FlowerBall Rose’ (Cerny Seed)
  • Lantana ‘Shamrock Red’ (Ball FloraPlant)

Every year we use our landscape beds to illustrate current garden trends, how homeowners can accomplish them, and how to use plants we know thrive in our area. This year we did Maximalist Gardening, Grow your Own Bouquet, Romantic Gardening and The Complete Garden – incorporating Vegetable and Herbs in your Flower Garden

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Typically our biggest challenge is the weather. Hot nights early in the season and heavy rain can really blow out the garden. We were lucky this year to not have either. The garden looked great and held on very well during the hot/humid July and August.

Some varieties that stood out to me this year were:

  • Petchoa ‘Caliburst Yellow’ (PanAmerican Seed): The first Petchoa from seed, it was covered with yellow flowers and made a beautiful basket. Nice deep yellow color.
  • Begonia Bellissa Series (Orange, Red and Yellow, Kientzler): Hybrid-type Begonia that showed really great heat tolerance compared to others of that type.
  • Zinnia ‘Profusion Red & Yellow Bicolor’ (Sakata Ornamentals): This one is not new, but it continues to be one of my personal favorites every year. Late in the summer the colors fade and you end up with red, yellow, coral, and rose all over the same plant. It is also an All-America Selections Gold Medal Winner.

One new thing this year was we did a huge trial to look at different centerpiece or thriller options for combinations. We tried different types of cordyline, dracenea, colocasia, and grasses. The trial went very well and we came away with quite a few new good ideas we can put into production.

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